Leg 2, Day 18 – The grass is always greener

Emma Mitchell By

Day 18 – The grass is always greener…

Like the good British citizens that we are, aboard Doris we spend an unreasonable amount of time talking about the weather. Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it splashy? Is it raining? Is it windy? These are all regular questions passed out through the aft cabin hatch in the 5 or 10 minutes before changeover time, especially at night. Discussions on the oars include debate over what we think the wind speed is and whether it matches our latest forecast from Tony. In the cabin we pore over the forecast text messages. In 45 mins it should be changing from 9-12kts to 12-15kts, do we think it already has, is it still north easterly? Discussion of the currents are also included with info coming back from those on the oars to say we have sped up or slowed down and it is easier or harder to hold our course so we must be into or out of a current.

In the last few days we have been enjoying hot and still conditions with barely a breath of wind and changeable currents which have made our speed variable. The temperature has soared again and it is now a relief to get into the cabin after a daytime row shift to escape the burning sun. Rowing now includes a healthy stream of sweat running off the eyelashes and chin and down the back. Often the sight of distant rain clouds gives us hope of a cooling shower. Hope slowly fades as we watch them dissipating as we row slowly in their direction. The nights are also much warmer now with no extra layers needed and a good sweat being worked up on the oars. These conditions have led to fond reminiscing about the times in the first leg when we were cold all the time and lived in our thermals, full wet weather gear and beanie hats. I know which I think is worse between shivering in a sleeping bag at night and losing feeling in my feet for days at a time or waking up on a sleeping bag liner wet with sweat in a sauna of a cabin, but a happy medium wouldn’t go amiss. It seems that the grass is always greener as back in leg one we dreamed of hot sunshine and the day we could roll out of our sleeping bags onto the oars without the hassle of putting on our wet weather gear, where as now we would all swap our yoghurt coated raisins for a cool breeze or some cloud cover.

However the hot and calm conditions have meant that we have all enjoyed swimming in the Pacific over the last few days. I can add the feeling of swimming in water so clear and blue where you look down and see the Mahi Mahi fish swimming below you and despite the amazing visibility know that you can’t see even close to the bottom, to the list of things I wish I could send you all a slice of. We have also been lucky enough to have had a couple of incredible nights with burning red sunsets giving way to bright starry skies with a hundred shooting stars giving us a show as we row. We are all looking forward to reaching the equator and the halfway point of both this leg and the entire expedition and sometimes it feels like a long time coming. After all for three of us this is our 102nd day at sea. However under the night sky or the setting sun I can’t help but feel like the luckiest person in the world.



  1. Anna C says:

    Sorry it’s so sweaty out there. You’re right – we Brits are never quite satisfied with the weather. We are in South Africa and can’t quite get used to the idea that winter really happens here in August. My suitcase is still full of unused T-shirts, while my one fleece is now getting a bit smelly. Anyway, we thought you might be interested to learn that your sleep pattern is more attractive than that of the giraffe, who we are told sleeps a total of 4 hours every 24 hours, snatched in bouts of only 4 minutes at a time – and standing up! Hope that makes you feel better….
    You are doing fantastically. Well done, and keep going!
    Anna and Marius x

  2. Simon TY says:

    Grass is not greener here. Another fairly rubbish August day. We live c3 miles from Camber Sands, brilliant beach on south coast. Went there that one hot May day in high 20s. Since then, not once, except on windblown, non sand castle days. Rubbish summer.

    Hope weather stays good and progress continues well.XX

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    I must say that when it comes to British weather, I am one of the rare “non complainers”. I try to make the most of whatever our lovely planet provides. Today started off scorchio and currently it is overcast. Unlike you ladies, we have the choice of going out or staying in, you have to do your 2 hour shift irrespective of conditions. My pride in your courage and committment grow daily. Stay safe. XX

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